God has a lot to say about prayer in His Word and Jesus is a great example to us on why we should pray. Over and over in the Gospels, we see Jesus in a close relationship with His Father and often praying in public…and in private.
I think that is hard for us to hear and I know it sure is for me. It’s tough to think that our prayers can be hindered towards God and at first doesn’t make sense, but when you read what the Bible says and why our prayers would be hindered, it actually makes sense.
Here’s 6 questions to ask yourself before you pray to see if your prayers will be hindered towards God.
Am I Being Selfish?
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” – James 4:3
If we are coming before the throne of God selfishly and asking for our own gain, we won’t receive. God is about His Glory at the end of the day (and rightly so), not for our sinful passions and gain.
Am I Reading/Obeying The Bible?
“If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” – Proverbs 28:9
If a follower of Jesus turns away from reading and obeying the Word, that “follower” is proclaiming they don’t really believe the Scriptures. And if they don’t really believe the Scriptures, then I would argue they really don’t follow Jesus. Praying to God in that manner would be an abomination…like His Word says.
Am I Unforgiving Of Others?
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” – Mark 11:25
If we are harboring bitterness towards someone and refusing to forgive them, then that’s a problem. Jesus is enough. What He did on the cross was enough. His resurrection from the dead was enough. There is no sin too big or offense too big where we can’t forgive others. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
God knows if you have forgiven someone, truly. I’m not saying being best friends with every human being or forgetting a terrible situation where you don’t use wisdom in that subject going forward, but forgiving someone at the end of the day because of how Jesus has forgiven you.
Am I Honoring My Wife?
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
This might be a tough pill to swallow for most husbands, but guys, if you don’t love and honor your wives…your prayers are hindered. How are you doing in this area? What do you need to repent from and confess to your wife? Don’t delay and start now…love her and honor her well. You’re not going to be perfect, but you know if you are loving and honoring your wife. Step up and be the man God is calling you to be.
Am I Confessing Sin?
“If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” – Psalm 66:18
If we hold up sin in our heart and refuse to confess this to The Lord and to others (which is a Biblical command), then we have an issue. Why would we not confess our sins? Do we not trust The Lord? Do we not believe Jesus died once and for all for all sins? Are we afraid of coming to our Heavenly Father?
Regardless of the reason, trust that The Lord is good. We won’t be perfect and as we follow Jesus, the rest of our lives will be a struggle as we strive to live for Jesus so you’ll never hit the mark, but that’s the point….Jesus hit the mark for us.
Am I Doubting My Faith?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” – James 1:5-7
This one might be the hardest and I’d encourage you to pray for increased faith and to not doubt. It’s difficult to know what kind of doubt we are talking about here, but I believe it comes down to two scenarios:
- I’m trying to follow Jesus…I’m reading the Bible, praying, I’m a part of His Church, I share the Gospel…but I just doubt sometimes and I need God’s continued help with this each day.
- I believe in God…not really reading my Bible, haven’t prayed, not a part of His Church, haven’t shared the Gospel…just not really sure about everything, but I “believe.”
The 2nd scenario is where I believe this applies. This person doesn’t really care at the end of the day and might “pray,” but hasn’t put their trust in Jesus. The 1st person isn’t and won’t be perfect, but is striving to follow Jesus and is asking for increased faith.
The last thing I would want anyone to hear or walk away with is that you have to be perfect. That is not true. Jesus was perfect on your behalf. There’s a big difference between actually following Jesus and just saying you are a follower, but aren’t doing that in reality.
I believe God listens to your prayers as you follow and trust Jesus, including checking your heart and repenting and confessing from areas you need to do so. I’d encourage you to ask yourself these questions before you pray to see if there is an area of your life you need to repent from as you follow Jesus.
Here are other Frequently Asked Questions and how the Bible answers them.